Former Camden Hills coach Pat Kelly returns to guide programBrothers Pat and John Kelly have had long association with Windjammers
Rockport — After a seven-year hiatus, a former Camden Hills Regional High School coach is back in the saddle again. More accurately, back on the mat.
Patrick Kelly, 48, who has been an important part of many state Class B championships with the Windjammers over the years, was appointed the new varsity wrestling coach at the school during a recent school board meeting.
Kelly replaces Levi Rollins, who guided the Windjammers five years. Rollins guided the 'Jammers to two state Class B titles, three Eastern Class B titles and two Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference crowns.
The Windjammers won conference, regional and state championships in 2011-12 in what proved to be Rollins' final season as coach.
Like Rollins, Kelly is a former standout Windjammer grappler.
Kelly led the Windjammers four seasons from 2003-2006, winning four Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference crowns, four regional championships and three state titles. He had a record of 117-5 during his tenure as head coach, but also served as an assistant with his brother, John, for years.
The veteran coach said he is "very excited to be part of the program again."
"I'm extremely excited about being back in the saddle as sort of the lead man," he said. "The program has always meant a lot to me whether I've been the head coach, assistant coach or a volunteer. I've been involved in the program in a number of capacities over the years, but to be head coach carries a lot of responsibility."
Kelly remained a part of the program in one way or another over the past seven years but was more involved in a volunteer capacity last season.
"It was really nice to just be able to show up and be a part the past seven years when I wanted to and when I could," said Kelly, who stepped down in 2006 to focus on his family, something coach Rollins noted was his main reason to step away from the mat after last season. "Now I'm ready to be there, get a coaching staff together and teach the way we've been doing this for 25 years."
Kelly and Rollins are two of only five head coaches in the history of the Windjammer mat program, including Pat's brother John, Rick Hamel and Ted Reese, the latter of who started the program in the 1960s.
Since 1987, Camden Hills has won 14 KVAC championships, 16 regional titles and 14 state Class B crowns. Camden Hills has finished first or second in the state tournament in 21 of the past 25 years.
Kelly had a terrific wrestling career for then Camden-Rockport High School and is a 1982 graduate of the school, having won an individual state title his senior year. He then went on to win the New England championship while attending the University of Maine in Orono and finished his collegiate wrestling career with a 116-20 mark.
Kelly then joined his brother, John, on the Windjammer coaching staff first as an unpaid assistant and later as a paid assistant and experienced a great deal of success with the program as the Windjammers won multiple state titles. Kelly also was inducted into the Maine Amateur Wrestling Alliance's Hall of Fame in 2007.
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